Taliban claim capturing key areas as clashes still ongoing in Farah city

Multiple blasts and gun battle in eastern Afghan city

Chairman of the provincial Council Fared, Bakhtawar said that terrorists attacked several checkpoints, a result of the attack killed at least 30 security personnel, however, the number of victims will probably increase.

"The US forces conduct airstrikes by using unmanned aerial vehicles in the province" province to clamp down the militants" militants, according to the reports.

Amini told AFP on 15 May from inside Farah: 'Heavy fighting continues inside the city and aircraft have just started bombarding Taliban positions'.

Residents said Taliban forces began their attack at around 2.00 a.m. (2130 GMT) from several directions.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying fighters came in from different directions and quickly overran multiple of checkpoints.

In the last week Afghan security forces suffered heavy losses in clashes against insurgents across the country, but on Sunday the Afghan interior ministry said that security forces have retreated from some areas that have high threat levels so as to avoid additional fatalities.

It borders Helmand Province, where the militants control several districts.

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Except the third police district, the Taliban did not capture other government offices, but fight over the police and NDS headquarters is still ongoing, he said.

Poor coordination among security forces and the Taliban's access to more sophisticated weapons have been cited as major factors in the militants' advance.

The province has been the scene of heavy clashes between Taliban and security forces over the past few months.

"The Taliban are moving very fast, if the government does not take serious and speedy action, the province is going to collapse to Taliban", local resident Hamidullah said.

Farah is home to about 50,000 people and would be the second city to fall to the Taliban since the city of Kunduz fell twice in 2015 and 2016. There are plans for a section of the multi-billion-dollar TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) gas pipeline to traverse it, a project with which the Taliban have pledged to cooperate.

The targeting of Farah, coinciding with gains by the Taliban since the launch of a spring offensive less than three weeks ago, forced Afganistan's President, Ashraf Ghani, to call an urgent security meeting with senior defense officials on Tuesday. Afghan forces have been struggling to hold back the resurgent militant group since the withdrawal of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat forces at the end of 2014.

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